The Other Side of the Coin

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Grumbler in Training
Feb 22, 2004
My experience in framing has spanned three shops and began in 1993, giving me over a decade of experience.

The listings here (and in other forums) primarily consist of shop owners and/or employers, and they often have complaints about their employees. I am here to offer the other side of the coin: "tales," if you will. I must begin by saying that I love the framing: it is creative, always different, poses new problems to solve, and I get to see into lives of people by what they wish to have framed for their memories.

However, there are downsides:
It is difficult, if not impossible, to earn a true living as an employee. The only ones who can live from this business are suppliers, shop owners, and large, regional-type stores. I fully grasp the difficulties of running the shop: my experience has been with sole-proprietorships and small partnerships. The finances of a luxury business are crunching -- that is reality. My reality is also that as a human, I need to pay for food, clothing, and shelter. Experience (personal and what I have seen on these boards) shows employers want to look down on the workers as something "less-than", something subhuman because they didn't have capital outlay (or the desire) to start a framing business. The cycle begins: treat people poorly, get poor treatment and less than 100% effort and loyalty in return. So, employee #15 is out the door, and in comes #16, who is already being treated as suspect and subhuman. What do you expect from them at that point? There is an old adage "The fish rots from the head."

Sour grapes? Maybe, but years of experience have brought me to this less-than-pretty reality. I have been told by many followers that I do excellent work -- I have stringent standards. But, unfortunately, good work doesn't earn someone good treatment. Even if it did, good treatment doesn't put gas in the car.

This is not to cool the hopes of someone with an interest to seek employment as a framer, it is just to let them know how hard it can be. It is a tough economy; unless you have very thick skin and are already financially independent, find a more profitable line of work. (Or make it a hobby.)

Best wishes for you in the galleries.
Capt -
First off - welcome to the grumble

As an employer, I have had my share of good, bad & indifferent employees. Both full & part-time.
In our situation, the framing end of our business was secondary to our primary business (photo studio & photo lab). As technology changes, (and as I get older :D ) we are putting more attention into the framing end of the business.

As many Grumblers can atest, picture framing will not make your rich ;) However, it is an excellent means of releasing the "creative individual" from within. We have found that many employees have used their position as a starting point for their careers and others enjoy the creativity so much that they stay with it for years (usually a part-timer w/ a spouse as the main bread winner)

I think any business will rise or fall w/ the attitude of the owner/manager. Most long term employees are still on the job because they enjoy doing what they are doing or enjoy the people they work with - which is true with most retail positions - Take a look in your own community at most of the mom & pop type operations, they either have family members (cheap labor) working or the above mentioned employee.

A lot of this depends upon the area, how the local economy shapes up, what advantages or disadvantages there are, etc.

In our case, I think there is something in the water :D Our employees (and customers) are great!!!
Welcome. That's a doozy of a first post.

I have been a frameshop employee since 1983. You are not the first to feel the frustration you express. I can assure you however, that although not easy it is possible to make a comfortable living at this. If you are not following your own advice to make it a hobby, look for an opportunity with a slightly larger company, perhaps with 2 or 3 locations. There are frame shops out there that offer benefits, competetive salaries, and sales commissions.

You also might be able to find a position with a wholesaler. Your knowledge and skills would be appreciated, and in my experience the compensation is better (often with weekends off).

Being able to say you have a job you enjoy is rare and , to me the trade off is worth it.
Capt Framer,

I know what you speak of. I spend 20+ years going from job to job. Only a couple were worth the effort. If you can travel it's easier to find better employment. You are in a good area seek out a new position. If you don't like it find another. If you are good something will come along. If you stay where you feel subhuman then you lose. Four year ago I was challenged with this statement from fellow grumblers. Start your own shop, it the only way to get ahead if you are a good framer.

Now, you say no money. I scraped together 4,000 and charge the rest on a CC. Others on the grumble started with $250 and a dream. Find a partner, someone that sell art and needs framing. The deals and work are out there if you look. Nobody gave most of us anything, we earned what we have.

Now, what are you prepared to do, to better your situation?

Be the Captain!

I fully understand what you are saying.

As a shop owner for 6 years, I only had 3 employees work for me. The first one I had to let go because she was not dependable. The second one was with me to the end and the 3rd was my summer fill-in. My only regret was that I could not afford to do more for #2 and #3.

Now that I am once again an employee, I have found it difficult to find a full-time job. For the time being, I am going to be working for a "big-box". I feel like I have betrayed my framing friends here on the Grumble, my great suppliers who were willing to stick with me through the tough times, and the reps that stopped by my shop regularly and I now consider my friends.

I have had a hard time reconciling the "big-box" status, especially in light of some of the things I have read here. However, I need a full time job and health insurance. As shop owner, our health insurance went up over $600, and I no longer could afford to pay it. That was what it cost us 3 years ago, I can only imagine where it would be today.

I have been framing for 16 years and do have a large following of customers. I love what I do and don't want to change. I have made framing a career. I would love to be a rep for a good company. However, those jobs are hard to come by, too.

By no means am I sharing "sour grapes". I have just had the last year to really evaluate my situation. I look forward to a 40 hour week with a paycheck for every hour I work. I look forward to spending time with my kids and grandkids. (Unfortunately, I am that old. :D ) I look forward to vacations without having to worry about what I am going to do with the shop. Also, I now have a chance to move up the ladder, if I so choose. I am going to take this opportunity to give myself more education. I am hoping to pass the CPF this spring. I am going to keep forging ahead and learn everything I can. Maybe someday I will get that rep job; I think I would be a darn good rep for some darn good company.

Do I regret closing my shop? No!! There were several factors beyond my control that were seriously affecting my sales (as well as those of my downtown neighbors, it wasn't just my problem).

I am still trying to reconcile myself to a "big box". I can't bring myself to share the name of this store with my friends here on the Grumble. However, it is a new store in town and we are in the middle of setting it up. I am having an absolute ball and enjoying every minute of it. Frame shop training next week. I am really interested in seeing what that brings.
The listings here (and in other forums) primarily consist of shop owners and/or employers, and they often have complaints about their employees.
Hey, Mike-L@GTP, we need a poll!

I think employees are in the majority here, though I could certainly be wrong.

Perhaps they're not as outspoken as employers because, sometimes, their employers are here, too.

It's not easy being a frameshop employee. Being an employer is no walk-in-the-park, either.

And I'm here to tell you that working alone isn't always the answer (though sometimes it is.)

I believe there's really only one way to find happiness, fulfillment and true financial security in this industry.

I'm only giving myself another 10-15 years to figure out what it is, and then I'm going back to marine geology.
Welcome Capt. I am very reluctant to reply since I am in awe of the replies you have already received.

I'd like to offer a suggestion to you ,check the survey done by the PPFA about the average income of the sterotypical Frame shop. I think you will discover that it is much less than many think,and as such the pay offered shop employees is definetly on the low side.

I can only assume that with the skill,following and care you profess ,along with the opinion thatyou stated :" The only ones who can live from this business are suppliers, shop owners, and large, regional-type stores. "indicates that you have had the good fortune(as well as your employer) to have worked for some very finacialy sucesfull shops.

Belive me there are many more "Mom and Pop" shops strugling to keep the doors open. I'd love to have an employee of any kind especially one like yourself. However I can't begin to even pay anything ,and I desperately need help with my wife ( the only other worker) out once again with impending surgey.

However the opinons you see here on TFG telling employees to open their own shops isn't some sort of elitism.It is th best advise for making a profit while persueing this profession.

Once again Welcome to TFG and I am glad to make the accquaintance of a proude Professional Like yourself.

[ 02-22-2004, 09:15 PM: Message edited by: BUDDY ]
Its a good question for a poll, for sure

For the March Poll, I was thinking of gift items - but probably after the conversion.

John Ranes has given some great ideas for the poll through email.

Captain: Welcome to the Grumble! You're gonna love this place...
Be the best you can be.

Treat everyone the way you expect to be treated.

The rest will take care of itself.
I too have been an employee for close to 13 years, 3 different shops. I have an extensive art(BFA) and woodworking background, skilled multitasker/problem solver. All you would want in an employee. At least that's what i thought.
My first experience was great, involved, generous, understanding, down to earth employer. This was a busy shop: 20%+ growth each year i was there, 750k gross/yr. Along with my coworkers, we had plenty of autonomy and the freedom to be creative. I also saw the enormous profit potential in this industry. I left there with spouse to relocate.
Next was a small 100k gr/yr place that had it's niche. The owner said he was happy where he was at that point and did not want to grow any bigger. He discouraged me from doing anything other than what we had to. As a result, he had lots of free time to leave me there to run the shop for 8.50/hr. I left there because i should have gotten our verbal agreement in writing.
Now i am in a situation where i have a high drama, controlling, unapprochable employer - chronically dissatisfied with everyone and their work, even though we turn out the best product around. This person fits the DSM-IV definition of a narcissist like a glove. Never notices good sales or positive customer feedback, only our mistakes. I was also discouraged here from "doing too much", not for fear of growth but the employers fear of others' interpretations of my enthusiasm! WTF! I thought that is what employers wanted, creative people confident in their abilities. I guess i am naive.

To add further insult, I only earn 2.00/hr more than i did in 1996.

Thanks for letting me vent. i know not all employers are alike, but i know what a good one is capable of.
I’m probably running the risk of making myself some extra “enemies” among my fellow grumblers, but this is a topic I simply can’t resist ;)

I wish to remind you just two names that are regarded with big respect by all of us.

Abe Munn was a Jewish immigrant from Poland who came here after narrowly escaped death at Nazis’ hands. He’s got a flame, a will and found himself a new voice in the land of the free.
Secondly, those of you who carry exquisite giftware are certainly aware of 18 K gold plated photo frame line by Elias. But just a few know that Elias was a very modest Cretan who had immigrated to America and made it here. He too had a flame, a will and found himself a new voice in this country. And the list would never end. Many of my clients are immigrants, and that did not stopped them become high end, successful framers.

Now, what I want to tell to Capt is what I was taught some 16 years ago when, as a fresh immigrant myself, I was complaining about being used and abused by my boss for just 5 bucks an hour. My friend told me this: Cornel, you have arrived in a large, beautiful, free country. If you are worth more than five dollars an hour, nobody will ever stop you from moving up the ladder to the level you are deserving of.
Well, Capt, you don’t need to fight with language, cultural and loneliness barriers to succeed in your own country just like so many immigrants proved it possible. And I refuse to believe that you have nothing special or at least consistent going for you as to allow you capitalize on it and better yourself. Good luck!

[ 02-22-2004, 11:37 PM: Message edited by: American Choice ]
Cap, I was going to take a pass on commenting, but the nag just won't go away.

First, the only people in my shop that get paid regularly, have health insurance, and work a regular schedule are the employees. I lost one in August when she got married and moved to Hawaii. I'll replace her when I find the right person. She really didn't know much other than how to serve coffee at Starbucks when I hired her. She left as a fairly good photographer, excellent photo lab tech, and framer apprentice.

My remaining employee does great work. He's 25, and I have known him since he was convicted of some juvnile offenses and serving in the state's bootcamp program. He is an aspiring photographer, and he blew a great job working as a government photographer and lab tech by getting in trouble again. Lost his security clearance. I hired him away from a minimum wage job and he worked the first nine months for me while on work release from jail. He earned plenty of overtime while on work release. Not because I needed him 7 days a week. I just did what I could to keep him out of the jail environment.

Now, I've encouraged this young man to complete college so he has all of his options. He says he wants to, but he has this problem. I pay him about $17.50/hr and he just can't buy everything he wants. He wants a new Harley, he's got the latest photophone, he's got a big Yukon, fancy wheels, lots of clothes...He thinks he should have everything he wants now, and sometimes thinks the world is stacked against him if he can't go out and buy the latest widget he wants.

I suspect there are a few framers out there making some seriously good money. But probably not many. Probably a few frameshop owners making a decent living off their business, but probably many more are just getting by.

Maybe framing isn't for you. And, even though you enjoy it, maybe you should get a job you enjoy less but pays you more.

I started working regularly when I was 14, had my first successful business (with employees) when I was 16. If I stuck with that business I do think I would be very wealthy now. But, my parents expected me to go to college. They didn't pay for it, but I went, got my degree and went to work doing what college taught me. Did fine, but always regretted I didn't stick with my business instead of going to college.

Framer gave you some great advice. If this is what you want to do and you think you are just being exploited by those capitalistic employers, start your own business. Wonderful thing about framing is getting started does not have to be capital intensive. If you are not willing to take the risk, then just keep working for someone else. Pick your employer well and you will get paid regularly.
I too can relate with Captain and Thom. There are two types of people in this world

1 Those that can be an employee.
2 Those that can't.

I guess job satisfaction can slightly alter that opinion, but I eventually get sick of working for even a good boss.

It sounds like you two have EXACTLY what it takes to be a business owners. You have already learned to live on just about no income. Im learning this may be the first and most important step in opening a business.

"My experience in framing has spanned three shops and began in 1993, giving me over a decade of experience." You could easily replace "framing" with mechanics, sales, computers, or anything else you want. The grass may be greener but its all crabgrass. Somebody making $8.50 in a shop making $100k a years isn't bad at all. Would you have been happier with $9.50?

Im not poking fun, because I too am just one of those people that don't think I would ever be happy doing anything except working for myself. If I work harder I make more money! If Im the best at _____, I make more money. This is (in my experience) is the only way to get the results you are looking for.

I have chosen the same risky, impatient, ridiculous business plan that framer tg picked. I have exactly $3500 in my checking account right now and a load of CC. Im willing to risk it all in order to not work at $8.50 for some lazy a** that I can work circles around. Its all a matter of perspective I guess. Good luck!
I would agree, but i can not completely. I have just started working for a shop that is very established and is willing to pay. He offered me about $2.oo more an hour than any other shop that I spoke with. For a smaller shop it is quite amazing. There are three full time people in the wood shop, one accountant three days a week, three people in the front hinging and matting, a lead salesperson, and the owner. The shop is very efficient and we do alot of work. It is high pressure, friendly atmosphere, and good pay.

There are shops out there that can advance your knowledge and pay at the same time. I got lucky and work for one, you can to don't give up.
$17.50 per hour, and you offer health insurance? Wow, I've never found a boss who offered those. However, I have found bosses who have offered your attitude: look what I did for this urchin who I saved from serving fries.

You have made my point so clearly for me: you feel yourself so far above this employee, you don't think the two of you even breathe the same brand of air. YOU saved him from jail. YOU got him out of delinquency. Well, thanks, buddy, from all of us worm-framers out here. If there were more like you, perhaps there would be less like you.

Thank you for your post: you put the exclamation point on my statement. You see yourself as superior: a better quality human. Now, return to your subhuman employee, and encourage him all you want to make yourself feel better: look what I did for this urchin; he'd be nowhere without me.
Time for an attitude adjustment. 95% have been there. You don't get to be boss with a defeatist attitude. Now I question you, what are you going to do about it. Joining the Communist Part is the wrong answer.

I've seen good advise posted here.


[ 02-23-2004, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: framer tg: ]
Wow, a little bitter, are we? I re-read katman's post twice.
My remaining employee does great work. ...hired him away from a minimum wage job....I've encouraged him to complete his college education so he has options
No where is she saving anyone.

I don't think that you fully grasp anything, least of all that you don't bite the hand that feeds you. If you're working for someone who considers you subhuman it's time to move on and not look back. No one deserves that.

It may also be time to look inward and see how your attitude is affecting you and your employment , that is, your relationship with employers.

[ 02-23-2004, 12:00 PM: Message edited by: Maryann ]
Katman, I liked your story, but maybe 'cause I have the benefit of placing it in the context of everything else you've posted, as well as some email correspondence.

For what it's worth, I think I'd come and work for you.

Maybe we need Audrey back here to put this all in perspective for us.
Maybe, capt, your attitude is your problem.

I don't care how good a framer you SAY you are, you will get nowhere that log on your shoulder.
Audrey-Schmaudrey! I have many things to say about employees AND bosses! And, yes, I've worked with both employees AND bosses who couldn't find their butts with both hands and a bird dog.

Sometimes it's like the old joke, which, incidentally, is not aimed at anyone, or at anyone's post here:
Q: What's the difference in God and a doctor?
A: God doesn't think HE'S a doctor.

Always be leery of the boss that says, "I may not always be right, but I'm always the BOSS!" They're the ones who, given really smart employees, find themselves wondering why they can't seem to get much done because they spend an inordinate amount of time answering the phone...

The "I may not always be right..." quote ranks right up there with the tired old saw, "Don't do like I DO! Do like I SAY do!"
"Yassir, boss! Oh, is that your phone ringing???"

We weren't hateful, spoiled employees. We were just laboring under the conception that the customer, who pays ALL our bills, came first. And, if an inneficient boss got in the way of us doing our job, which was to provide service...."Ring, ring,ring" while we got the job done in spite of the "If you were as smart as me YOU'd be the boss!" mentality.
And, for the record, I agree with the Capt'n, sorta, but I think katman is doing something that he/she feels good about, and I didn't catch a whiff of 'rarefied air' on their post. Keep it up katman! I say more power to ya!

Originally posted by capt_framer:
My experience in framing has spanned three shops and began in 1993, giving me over a decade of experience.
I've been an employee since I was old enough to work on a farm, through 30 years with BellSouth, and for a Framing partnership. In short, about 49 years...
When I had 10 years with the Fone Company, I didn't have a clue on how to get along with bosses, good or bad. If they were bad, I'd rail at the system. If they were good, I'd walk through fire for them.

[ 02-23-2004, 12:36 PM: Message edited by: CharlesL ]
Man, who p***** in the Captain's Crunch this morning?? Katman offers a story about someone she's taken care of and gets taken to task for it? Someone's got some serious attitude.

I've been the boss and the employee. Mel Brooks put it best: "It's good to be the King." Taking the risk, putting yourself on the line DOES entitle you to the benefits. Sorry, but that's the way it works.

That doesn't mean that we would treat any employees as subhuman know-nothings. Should our business grow to the point one day that we will need employees, we'll go out of the way to find the best and pay them accordingly. Our business and our customers would deserve nothing but the best.

As an employer I've found over the years that what an employee thinks makes them great is showing up on time, not calling in sick when the weather is nice, doing an acceptable job and not upsetting customers -- that's it. As an employer I want someone who will do all of the above AND try to grow my business. When that happens we both win. Too often I've found employees who are looking out for themselves in the short term and lacking in TRUE effort to better themselves in the long term - like the job and check are entitlements or something. Too few are looking out for the "big picture". Come work with us, help grow our business - and when the ship comes in we'll all get rewarded. THAT's how it works.

Here's my advice for the Capt: Framing is not a capital-intensive business. We started a few years ago for a few thousand bucks. If you're so **** good, go to work for yourself and reap the rewards. Just remember it's never as easy as it looks.

Enough of the rant framing to do.

The frameshop owners are truly irritated by my reply to the posting illustrating the attitude that has chafed for years now.

Where are the EMPLOYEE comments?

The owners are truly upset because one ingrate has the audacity to complain.

The point is *not* that I want to own a shop. I don't. I would prefer to work in this industry. Across the board, the wages for the employees do not allow for employees to earn a living. If it were a hobby, it would be fine. But one cannot earn a living as an employee. That was the premise I started with, and it was to serve a warning to hopeful framers: tighten your belt, the pay is not grand.

Alas, the frameshop owners have provided an entirely different view of the reality of the jobs for prospective employees.
Originally posted by capt_framer:
...Where are the EMPLOYEE comments?...
The point is *not* that I want to own a shop. I don't...
"Where are the EMPLOYEE comments?"
Do you really expect someone to agree with you? You may be all alone here; maybe all of us understand that your attitude toward employers is purely destructive.

While employees often resent some things their bosses say or do, most realize that it goes both ways. Nobody's perfect. Employees seldom condemn employers as generally and hatefully as you have done here. And thankfully, employers generally do not regard employees as you think they do.

Your resentment far exceeds what you perceive to be every employer's feeling of superiority. You are being completely unfair.

It figures that you don't want to own a shop. If you had any such aspiration, you would have to take your head out of the sand.

You seem to have serious issues. Good luck. You're going to need it.

"Ah, I LOVE the smell of napalm in the mornin'."
I am always amazed by posts like these.

Maybe there was a constructive reason for starting this thread but it certainly doesn't look that way.

In my mind it is bad manners to simply show up somewhere and start insulting everyone that opens their mouth.

You are right, this is not a high paying field.
I don't think it is because the employers have a conspiracy to keep the employees down.

If you can't make a living wage then perhaps you should change occupations.

Just a thought.
So is your complaint that you don't get paid enough?

"Across the board, the wages for the employees do not allow for employees to earn a living."

It seems to me that you think that you are worth umm I dunno.... $60,000/year to frame. Well I think that’s what Im worth too. Would ANY employee making that kind of money working at a frame shop here making that please inform me? The fact is that most areas and shops will not support the economic support you want. Why not? Well let me ask another question: Would ANY ANY owner here that is filthy stinking rich please let me know? Because money is no object, I would be glad to offer you 3 gallons of Kentucky Burgoo (its soup) for one hour of your time.

I like saying "hello" to people. I think that I am the best greeter in the world. Can you believe that WalMart would only offer me $5? I mean I AM THE BEST IN THE WORLD AT SAYING HELLO! The fact remains that they are only willing to pay that much. I can either say "hello" for $5 an hour or get another job. Those are my only choices even if I love more than anything saying "hello" to people.

You’re doing your job search backward. You have picked a career and now asking for the pay you want. Maybe you should try to pick a pay rate you want and then find a career/interest that fits that income. It’s not the frame shop owners fault you don’t get enough money.
The owners are truly upset because one ingrate has the audacity to complain.
No, the owners are upset because you've painted everyone with one exceptions, we're all bad, bad people.

It is a tough economy; unless you have very thick skin and are already financially independent, find a more profitable line of work.
But one cannot earn a living as an employee.
You need to take your own advice and move on to an industry where the boss will understand you and you can be paid whatever you think you deserve. But I think you'll find that whatever that industry is, they won't understand you either.
The only time I think this board shouldn't be public is times like these when people log on anonymously with what appears to be an intent to just rile everybody up. None of this holds any water if you don't know who you are talking to. It's not in the least entertaining to me to watch the flames and it diminishes the whole forum. I'm not advocating a private forum, there is nothing wrong with a heated discussion but it makes no sense letting a mysterious stranger ruffle your feathers.

The discussion itself has merit.

I've gotten to know Katman a bit too. He didn't tell a tale of saving anybody here. Just an honest discussion of how he treats his employees. Katman, I will come work for you anytime. Being a shop owner, I haven't even realized an income yet. But if I had employees I would take the responsibility seriously and pay them first, obviously.

As far as advancing a career in framing I would start looking at bigger shops and work yourself into management. I made a decent living for 16 years as a frameshop manager, a **** of a lot more than I have as an owner.

Plus, there is always the possibility that you are subhuman and deserve to be treated that way, some people just are.

There are many frail framing shops which hardly can aford employ anybody. It seems to be your side of the pie. But then there are large galleries, large framing businesses with multiple outlets out there. If you are really good at it, go for the last. They offer better salaries, benefits and health innsurance.
You live in Dallas. Last time I looked at it Dallas was a large city with some really good and prosperous framers to show the world. Why be so good, yet stuborn enough to wanna work only for that next door shabby framing shop? Uh?
Maybe the Captain would be happy if all of us who are owners posted a horror story about an experience we had as an employee. I'll start.

I had a worked for a manager (different industry) who was stealing from the business. Then, to divert attention, he wanted everyone to take a lie-detector test. Well, everyone but him.

I quit, by the way and started my own business.

That story doesn't really work, though, since the thieving manager was an employee, too. The owner was a pretty good guy, and eventually caught up to the thief.

Sorry. I tried.
The reason for my original posting was:
it is difficult to earn a living as an employee.

Having been in the business long enough, I realize that ownership is no cakewalk. It is a dog-eat-dog world in business. The point remains to prospective framers:
tighten your belt, the wages are not high.

Apologies for ruffling feathers.

I will politely bow out after one last comment, and this addressed specifically to ONE person, nobody else, and apologies because it is way off topic:
Kathy, no human is subhuman. That's a moral strategy that is treading very dangerous grounds. Ask our immigrant framer at American Choice.
Originally posted by Emibub:
...Being a shop owner, I haven't even realized an income yet. But if I had employees I would take the responsibility seriously and pay them first, obviously...
Good point, Kathy. The employer takes the risk and suffers the consequences of bad management, bad economy, bad weather, bad employees, bad debts, and whatever else bad happens to come along.

January was a particularly bad month for us. During that month, both of our employees earned their usual pay, but I skipped a pay period. We are fortunate to have a profitable little business, and no employee has ever missed a payday.

Capt_Framer might say that proves my feeling of superiority over employees. However, if I asked them who should wait to be paid, I suspect they would agree with me. If I regarded them as Capt_Framer thinks I do, then I would take my pay and leave them with the burden. Right, Capt_Framer?

Thank Goodness February has been much better. I will be paid next week. And don't I feel special :(
Hey Cap'n,
I'm well aware of how to categorize people and I certainly am aware of other peoples suffering in the world. I wouldn't hurt a fly, ask anybody.

I was simply speaking in terms that you seemed to understand. You did comment that Katman was treating his employee in a subhuman way, didn't you? Just expounding on what you were expressing.....

Here I am arguing with a mysterious stranger.....well not really. No offense to anybody.....
Originally posted by capt_framer:
The reason for my original posting was:
it is difficult to earn a living as an employee.
I guess we would all agree with you on that, but the departure comes when you blame it on what you perceive to be disdainful employers.

Perhaps most who have worked both ways would agree: "The other side of the coin" is that it's even MORE difficult to earn the living you seem to think a frame shop owner earns.

Heck, many shop owners are lucky to get the bills paid. Framers aren't necessarily good business managers, which is another well-flattened topic here.

Capt_Framer, I hope you will not run and hide, now that you've raised the ire of some Grumblers. If you stick with us and contribute to the topics, we will at least admire your fortitude, even if we can't be friends.
Originally posted by capt_framer:

The listings here (and in other forums) primarily consist of shop owners and/or employers, and they often have complaints about their employees. I am here to offer the other side of the coin: "tales," if you will.
Gee, and here all this time I thought this thread was about framing coins and showing both sides... :rolleyes:

My experience in framing has spanned three shops and began in 1993, giving me over a decade of experience.
Man, over a decade! Let's see, I started in 1972, uh, that makes 3 decades! (Yes, I was a mere child...) I was an employee for 9 years. (Then full time Mom for 4-5 and now look at me! I'm an employer!)

So yes, Capt, I too am an employer, and she (my employee) makes much more than I do. And no headaches, no decisions, flexible schedule... uh, anybody want to hire a second-guessing employer?

My guess is that unless you spent a loooong time lurking, you registered and posted a brand new thread within a few days without really taking any time to read the past posts that have featured many employees. In fact, in some of the polls, there didn't seem to be enough employers to even have a good showing.

You know, if you spend some time listening (reading) first before posting another "shotgun" style thread, you might learn that all employers are not painted with the same brush.

Lordy! I've been away for a while and it seems quite a lively discussion has been had.

For the record, Capt, I don't feel one bit superior to my employees, past or present. I'm just older, and I've been around the track a few more times than they have.

I do have high expectations. I want to make some money, so I expect the people I hire to help me reach that goal. That's why I try to hire achievers. I've been very lucky. Couldn't do this without them, and I am glad they feel they get more than money from me.

I figure you must have started out having a bad day. Hope it gets better for you. Oh, and these Grumblers saying all these good things...they do that sometimes on Monday.
We are a capitalistic society, that means we CAPITALIZE on opportunities that present themselves. Your wages depend on what the market will bear and what you are willing to charge a potential employer for your skilled labor. If he or she likes the offer you present to them, then they will capitalize on the opportunity to employ you.

If after time you decide that you underbid yourself in order to become employed, you are allowed to ask for a raise and you are also allowed to quit and look for other means of income. You can do these things because we are also a FREE society.

You can also quit if you feel your employer does not treat you the way you would like to be treated. You are also allowed to quit and open your own business.

This is a wonderful country, I suggest you take advantage of all it has to offer and capitalize on it's many opportunities.

If you have ever been to a third world country and taken the time to chat with the locals, you will have discovered that to have any kind of work, no matter what the pay, was considered honorable. It's called work, be glad you are able to perform it.

If for ANY reason whatsoever you are unhappy with your work, you have the freedom to make any adjustments you like. This is not the case in a lot of other countries. You won the lottery, you were born an American, be glad.

I wish I was the kind of person my dog thinks I am.

I wish I made as much money as my employees thought I did.

I wish I really knew who I was talking to when I respond to threads like this one.
I remember when I was a child, I thought my parents had all the money in the world. I could not figure out for the life of me why when I decided I wanted a new toy, most of the time the answer would be no. Sometimes, the answer was yes. I always thought, why can't I get a new toy whenever I want one? I also thought, why can't I get an allowance every week? Why is it a big deal sometimes when I ask for a couple of bucks?

Now that I'm all grown up, I realize that bills have to be paid every month. Mortgage, car payments, utilities, groceries, etc. It has become apparent to me that my parents did not have all the money in the world, and the money they did have, I now realize where it went, and why my slice was small. Not to mention being only one of five kids.

Sometimes we don't get what we think we deserve. But there is usually a good reason.

I don't know if this made any sense whatsoever.
If it didn't, I apologize.

capt, i am quite sorry that you feel this way. i am an employee and have been for a while. i am not scared to say sometimes employees don't make as much as they desire. then again some employers will do what they can when they can-perks. i have loved my bosses in the past, they have all been great to me and i had a hard time leaving them when i did. i also believe that it is a two way street. an attitude plays a major role in the job world. if you bring a bad attitude and bring the work place down you shall be paid poorly. if you try as much as you can and it is not looked upon with appreciation you leave. some people don't work well together and therfor the relationship won't benefit for either involved.

i hope this was just a couple bad days and you are seeing the light now. you have had some good advice from folks on here, use it to your advantage. good luck to you in the future framing world.
Captn' You started out saying you wished you could make a living wage while framing then katman tells you he pays his employee $17.50 /hr and insurance and you bristle at his "ATTITUDE"
I used to work shift work in an Oil Refinery where many co-workers hardly ever lived long enough to retire and they NEEDED their insurance for things like herniated disc in their back .By the way did I tell you that I am disabled ? We made the UNGODLY wage of 18.50 /hr for days and 10% more for nights and I was often told how well paid I was.Of course I've been away for a while and wages have increased but the conditions are the same. By the way when was the last time you had to frame anything in the elements at night?

Then yo came back with "WHERE ARE ALL THE EMPLOEES" since you felt that only the employers where replying.Try rereading some of those replies. I think you'll discover that MANY if not almost all of these EMPLOYERS where EMPLOEES at one time and know everthing you have experienced and probaly more.As a matter of fact the attitude you bristled at which suggested that you consider either a different line of work or starting your own shop is where they have either come from or went to to avoid bitching and moaning. They did something to change their lives .You can too.

However If you are being paid like katman's employee and being offered the sound advise katman is offering ,maybe you shouldn't waste your time.You have arrived . That comes to $36000+ a year and many shop owners who do in deed do as you said "Having been in the business long enough, I realize that ownership is no cakewalk. It is a dog-eat-dog world in business. The point remains to prospective framers:
tighten your belt, the wages are not high."
The only problem is that YOU don't realize that their wages "aren't that high",and "they are tightening their belts" while fighting off the man-eating -dogs.
But then you already said that you didn't want to OWN the shop you just want to get paid more than some who do,and maybe even someothers who work in much more difficult conditions.
How old did you say you where? I'll bet your opinion changes some time in the future.Mine sure has,both then and NOW
Capt' go to medical school, become a doctor, but specialize in neurology, psychiatry, or something of the same ilk.
I am, and have been an employee for +/- 48 years, so, sorry, but 10 years experience doesn't cut it with me.
The same can be said of employers, If you can't make enough in your very own frame shop to make a decent living, become a doctor, or a drug dealer. Start your own cartel. I suspect, though, the shop owners on here are at least marginally successful.
H ell, when I retired from the Fone Co, I was making close to $30/hr, AND recieved a handsome buyout, free health insurance and a drug co-pay, (never more than $13/'script). So...although I was a career employee, I don't think I did very badly.
But, as our friend, Bob Carter says, "Follow the money..."
In this area your best bet will be the big boxes for a salary you can live on. There are a few others, but you'll have to get in line for job openings there. I'm fortunate to work for one of the "others".

You are not alone in your opinions of the framing industry. If you want to be in it you just have to find a way to live with it. That means you may have to find a way to supplement your income. Somebody mentioned Audrey. Audrey left framing to be a bartender you can bet she makes more that many owners and has no problems to take home after work.

I was a shop owner for 19 years and you cannot believe what an owner goes through. Most of them have families yet they put everything they have on the table and go for it. The pressure is intense. What you hear owners saying here is a product of that pressure. Few are able to continue being great business owners, great framers and caring employers. Pick any two. You must have experienced some of those who flunked Humanity 101. I've been on this board for a long time and those who have responded here are of the "GREAT" variety. Learn what you can from them. Contribute what you can to the G.

To all others:

I am jframe, couldn't login as such.
Employees only see the money that comes INTO the shop, never what goes OUT.

I had an employee last year who was making $12.00/hr, received two weeks paid vacation, a simple IRA, was paid for sick days, had health insurance, and was paid commissions for sales over a certain dollar amount. I taught him everything he knew about framing. He left because he wanted more money. He would have gotten a raise in a few months, when it was due. He never said he would stay if I paid him more, but that was the feeling I got. I felt like I was being blackmailed, and I didn't like it. So, he moved on. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, which I won't go into. "All things happen for a reason" applies here.
Along the blackmail route:

I had a shop manager once (I was a DM, not an owner at the time) who presented me with her 2 weeks notice. We went out to talk about it because I was truly surprised. Turns out she had no intention or desire to quit, she really wanted a substantial raise and thought by threatening to quit she'd get the raise :confused:

This came from someone who was already earning well above what she was worth - but we paid the market rate for her services. When all the crying, explaining and complaining was over she was let go :eek: .

Everyone's telling you the same thing, Capt - you probably won't get rich in this business. Rather than complain, find another line of work. It's like complaining about all the sick people when you work in a hospital :D
I vote that this thread get closed.

All in favor and opposed please vote just with a yes or a no

yes = close it
no = keep it open longer


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